Vince Staples’s third Def Jam album is a punchy distillation of the Long Beach MCs’ appeal. At 22 minutes long, Staples has billed the project as a case of “no concepts, no elaborate schemes, just music — because nowadays, who needs more bullshit?” It’s a promise the uncompromising rapper comes good on, ushering the listener into a west coast world where the skies might seem sunny but there’s a murmur of impending violence on every block corner.

MF!’s production is handled by Kenny Beats and Hagler, who serve up a batch of vintage west coast beats: Tracks like “Run The Bands” and “Don’t Get Chipped” combine menacing synth lines with voluminous bass tones, while “FUN!” skews in a hyphy direction, complete with guest verbals from Bay Area ambassador E-40. For his part, Staples’s fluid flows are undercut with grimmer sentiments, like on “Tweakin'” where he’s resigned to “burn in hell, I don’t care how my soul look/I know you gon’ tell, I can tell by your froze look.”

Vince Staples, FM! (Def Jam)

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